Practice Tip of the Week:
Use a Metronome (Part 2)

Metronomes are great tools for helping musicians play evenly.
And, you can use a metronome to help you achieve target goals
for tempos or to discover sections that need more focused practicing.

Another crucial use of metronomes is to train your muscles to play
without making mistakes. By setting the click at an excruciatingly
slow speed, you can catch any potential mistake before it even happens
and play accurately!

Many musicians need to be more creative with their metronomes.
Using a metronome to do more than simply click quarter notes
can keep your practicing fresh and help you learn faster than ever!

Here are some creative uses of metronomes:

–Modern metronomes can subdivide accurately for you, and it’s great
to hear eighth notes, sixteenth notes, or triplets when you need them.
Be sure to use these settings on your metronome.

–You can also have your metronome click less frequently than quarter
notes, forcing you to fill in the other beats mentally.

–For music in three, have the metronome click only the downbeat.
You’ll need to count and feel the other beats.

–For music in four, set the metronome to click on beats 1 and 3 or
on beats 2 and 4. (If, for example the tempo is quarter note = 120,
set the metronome at 60.) The metronome setting is exactly the same,
but you’ll have to change your mental count to hear clicks on 2 and 4!
Start counting “one” during a silence, and the click will line up on 2 and 4.

–A wonderful metronome technique is the “Disappearing Click.” If you’re
playing something in four with a lot of eighth notes, for example, start
by setting the metronome to click 8th notes. Next, set a click of quarter
notes. Then, give yourself a click only on beats 1 and 3. Finally, set
the metronome to click only on the downbeat.

As you play through your music using this last technique, you should be
counting and playing 8th notes the entire time–but your reference is
slowly disappearing.

This way, you learn to control time better and do not always depend on
the metronome!

Have fun using your metronome. Develop your own creative ways to use
this valuable tool, and you’ll change the way you think about your music.

To Your Musical Success!

Be sure to check out the Molto Music blog for information on free online metronomes and metronome apps.